2021 year in review

Welcome to my second annual year in review. This is a quick reflection and goal-setting exercise that I do at the end of the year. You can read my 2020 year in review here. I find that I get easily caught up in day-to-day worries and doing this reflection really helps me to zoom out and appreciate just how much progress I have made over the past year.

Reflecting back over 2021, it’s crazy how much happened over the past year, both good and bad.

2021: The good

WalletBurst

I started this site in October of 2020 and traffic to WalletBurst has grown a lot faster than I expected. A year ago, I was getting about 5k sessions per month and in my 2020 year in review, I wrote that my goal was to hit 10k monthly sessions. I’m pretty excited that in 2021, I have been averaging around 40k sessions per month, with peaks of over 50k sessions in certain months. As far as earning side income goes, I’ve earned $1,192 in affiliate income this year, which while better than nothing, isn’t much for a site of this traffic.

An unexpected startup exit event

The startup I joined in June of 2020 went public on the NASDAQ via a SPAC merger this spring, which meant a nice bump in my compensation since part of my pay is in stock options. When I joined this company a year and a half ago during the peak of the pandemic uncertainty, I was just happy to have a job, and was absolutely not expecting them to have an exit event of this size so quickly. Since my frugality is pretty deeply ingrained at this point, I am trying to limit my lifestyle inflation with this bump in pay and I am just using it to increase my savings rate.

Markets

Like anyone holding hard assets, I saw my net worth on paper go pretty crazy this year, with the S&P500 being up over 25% on the year. Being in crypto made this year even more of a roller coaster ride, but overall I am stoked to be getting closer and closer to escaping the 9 to 5.

Instagram and Newsletter

This year I started an Instagram account to go along with this site: @walletburst. Thanks to @millennialmoneyhoney for the multiple shout outs, which helped me to pick up a few followers. I plan to continue to grow my presence on Instagram in 2022.

I also started a monthly newsletter where I share my favorite investing and personal finance tidbits from around the internet, which you can find here. Newsletter growth has been slow but steady and at this point I have over 200 newsletter subscribers.

Fitness

I got pretty into hiking this year, and discovered that I really enjoy getting to the top of tall peaks. My fitness highlight of the year was tackling an absolute bucket list hike called Cactus to Clouds in Palm Springs, California with a few friends. Cactus to Clouds is known as being one of the hardest single-day hikes in the USA, with a vertical elevation gain of a few hundred feet less than that of the Everest Base Camp to Mt Everest peak ascent. We started the hike at the desert floor in Palm Springs at 4am, hiked all the way up to Mt San Jacinto peak at over 10,000 feet elevation, and then hiked down to the tram station and took the tram back down to Palm Springs, all in a single day. Doing over 10,000 feet in vertical ascent over 23 miles in one day was one of my greatest athletic accomplishments, and although it was not so fun in the moment, I definitely want to do more challenging hikes like this in the future.

2021: The Bad

Work

I worked harder and longer hours this year (at my job) than I have in any year previously. This in itself isn’t necessarily bad but by the end of 2021 I am feeling burnt out, despite only working at this job for a year and a half. I am doing great health-wise, however I only have so much energy, and my content cadence here on WalletBurst has definitely dropped off as a result.

Deaths in the family

This year I had an aunt and uncle separately pass away unexpectedly in their 60s, much younger than they should have. Their passing has really made me grapple with the finiteness of life and how my parents will not be around forever, so I need to savor the time I do have left with them.

Breaking Up

I can’t write this section without mentioning this. I decided to breakup with my long-term girlfriend this past year, and doing this was definitely one of the hardest things I have ever done. She was my first love, and she will always hold a special place in my heart. I’m glad we were able to have a very amicable breakup.

A look back on 2021 goals

  • Create a new piece of content on WalletBurst every 2 weeks. ✅
  • Reach 10k monthly users on both WalletBurst and my other site. ✅
  • Maintain a 70% savings rate and add $60k to my net worth. ✅
  • Shift my net worth allocation to have over $200k in the stock market. ✅
  • Build out a clearer picture of where I want to be and what I want to be doing in the future. ✅

2022 Goals

Overall 2021 was a really good year for me, and in a lot of ways it was the best year of my life so far. But just based on what I've planned so far, I’m pretty sure that 2022 is going to be even better. Here are a few goals that I have set for myself in 2022:

  • Reach 75k monthly sessions on this site.
  • Hike Mt Whitney and another 14er.
  • Build my total passive income to $1,000 per month.
  • Learn to wake-surf.
  • Grow @walletburst to over 1,000 followers on Instagram.
  • Create 1 post per week on Instagram
  • Work less at my day job.
  • Read 6 books (one every 2 months).
  • Publish 2 new pieces of content on WalletBurst per month.
  • Add $80k to my net worth through savings from my 9 to 5 income.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Cheers to 2022! 🥂

-Andrew

Subscribe to my monthly newsletter 📪

Like what you see here at WalletBurst? Sign up for one email a month where I recap my new posts and my favorite personal finance content from around the internet.

View archived newsletters